Leicester, England — Sit-stand workstations help reduce the negative impact of prolonged sitting among office workers while improving job performance and psychological health, according a recent study conducted by British researchers.
Previous research has linked prolonged sitting to higher risks for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
For the 12-month study, 146 workers from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust were randomly assigned to an intervention group or a control group. The former group was given height-adjustable workstations, a brief seminar with supporting leaflets, and instructions with sitting and standing targets, as well as feedback on sitting and physical activity, action-planning and goal-setting booklets, self-monitoring and prompt tools, and coaching sessions. The latter group worked as usual.
All participants were interviewed about job performance, engagement, mood and quality of life, among other topics. Their responses were recorded, along with daily sitting times.
Results showed that, after one year, those in the intervention group sat about 82 minutes less per day than those in the control group. Even after only three months, they sat about 50 minutes less a day than those in the control group.
The researchers said the results suggest that workers who use sit-stand workstations experience less daily anxiety and improved job performance, work engagement and overall quality of life. However, no notable changes in job satisfaction, cognitive function and work absences because of illness were observed.
The researchers also note that sitting time was replaced mostly by standing rather than moving, as workers’ steps and physical activity throughout the workday were unchanged.
The study results were published Oct. 10 in the British Medical Journal.
The benefits of height-adjustable desks
The health consequences of sedentary behaviour such as sitting for long periods of time can be devastating. Those that spend most of their days sitting are said to have a higher risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes to name a few.
The link between illnesses and sitting first emerged in the 1950’s when researchers found double decker bus drivers were twice as likely to have heart attacks as their bus conductor colleagues. With all the information out there on how sedentary lifestyles can affect your health, there is no wonder why height-adjustable desks are becoming increasingly more popular in offices.
Height adjustable desks can prevent back problems, increase performance, concentration, and motivation of employees whilst minimising downtime. In this article, we will be exploring all the benefits of height-adjustable desks and why they are essential in office layouts.
Height-adjustable desks improve mental activity
In a working day, there are regular situations where important decisions need to be made quickly. The mind needs to be alert and focussed in order to achieve this.
A study found that students that had used height-adjustable desks in a classroom showed improvements in focus, executive function, and memory. The study also suggested that standing desks boosted brain activity by increasing blood flow. By adding height-adjustable desks to the office , we will likely see similar results in workers.
Height-adjustable desks are a great advantage if staff are expected to work in a concentrated fashion for many hours where they will need to be focussed and maintain executive function.
Height-adjustable desks can actually save money
If workers are not constantly distracted by fatigue, neck tension and back pain, they will be able to concentrate better and work more efficiently. Both employees and the company benefit from this too, as according to a study by Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, German companies incurred an annual loss of 35 million euros due to absentees and reduced productivity caused by back problems.
Therefore, adding height-adjustable desks to the office can result in reduced absentees and better health leading to improved profitability for the company. It also reduces stress from trying to find cover for all the absentees with bad backs!
Height-adjustable desks enable better collaboration
A study by behavioural researchers indicated that people communicate and engage significantly better when standing compared to sitting. At standing meetings, the voice is fuller, more dynamic, and more convincing, significantly increasing the meeting performance. The same goes for telephone calls, which are also said to improve when standing up.
Increased standing and more movement can also lead to better interaction and engagement, creating a more dynamic and collaborative working environment. This will enhance the value proposition of getting employees back into the office as they increasingly are looking for more flexibility. Companies need to make the office more attractive so that employees will happily come in . One way to do this is through height-adjustable desks.